What's Going on With the Volcano?
March 13, 2014
The eruption of Kīlauea continues at two vents. One at the summit of Kīlauea within Halema‘uma‘u Crater and the other on the east rift zone, 10 miles east of the summit. Flowing lava is not accessible by foot or by car. No lava is flowing into or towards the ocean.
Fumes and glow from the summit vent may be seen from the overlook at Jaggar Museum, and other vantage points at the summit of Kīlauea that provide views of Halema'uma'u Crater.
During the day a robust plume of volcanic gas is a constant and dramatic reminder of the molten rock churning in a lava lake within the crater. After sunset, Halema'uma'u continues to thrill visitors and park staff with a vivid glow that illuminates the clouds and plume as it billows into the night sky.
Park rangers are on duty at the Jaggar Museum to assist the many visitors drawn to Halema'uma'u, which has been erupting consistently within the crater since March 2008.
Halemaʻumaʻu web cam (opens in new window).
East rift zone vents: Map showing the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow in relation to the eastern part of the Big Island as of March 7, 2014. The front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow was 7.9 km (4.9 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and advancing very slowly. The area of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow as of February 20 is shown in pink, while widening of the flow since then is shown in red. Older lava flows are distinguished by color: episodes 1–48b flows (1983–1986) are shown in gray; episodes 48c–49 flows (1986–1992) are pale yellow; episodes 50–55 flows (1992–2007) are tan; episodes 58–60 flows (2007–2011) are pale orange, and episode 61 flows (2011–2013) are reddish orange. The active lava tube is shown with a yellow line (dashed where position is poorly known).
Please note: The current lava flows are in a remote, unstable area that is NOT accessible to the public by car or foot.
**Currently there is no lava visible from the Kalapana public viewing area**
The Kalapana public viewing area is outside of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the other side of the flow fields and is managed by Hawaiʻi County. There is no fee to enter the viewing area. Currently the viewing area is open from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the last vehicle allowed in at 8:00 p.m. To hear a recorded message of updated viewing conditions, call 808-961-8093.
Map to the Kalapana public viewing area (pdf-469KB)
County of Hawai'i Press Release - Kalapana Lava Viewing Area Remains Free - Feb 12,2013 (pdf-169KB)
Surface flowing lava is at times accessible from the end of Chain of Craters Road within Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. When it is, and if you plan to hike out to it, you should be prepared for an extremely arduous, advanced and challenging hike that should only be attempted by the most physically fit people. It is roughly 13 miles round trip from the end of Chain of Craters Road, with an estimated time to complete of 6 to 8 hours. Hiking across lava fields requires continous awareness and concentration. The lava is uneven, jagged and very sharp. All skin should be covered. If you decide to do this hike, you should have:
Please view this four minute video - "Plan for Safe Viewing of Lava Flows"
HAZARD ALERT: Lava entering the ocean builds lava deltas. The lava delta and adjacent areas both inland and out to sea are some of the most hazardous areas on the flow field. Frequent delta/bench collapses give little warning, can produce hot rock falls inland and in the adjacent ocean, and can produce large local waves. The steam plume produced by lava entering the ocean contains fine lava fragments and an assortment of acid droplets that can be harmful to your health. The rapidly changing conditions near the ocean entry have been responsible for many injuries and a few deaths.
The lava lakes in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and Halemaʻumaʻu crater, as well as other views may be viewed on webcameras made available by the scientists at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Daily updates by staff that monitor Hawaiʻi's volcanoes provide visitors with the most recent observations on volcanic conditions.
If you are interested in more information about the Kīlauea east rift zone, we invite you to watch the video cast of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Mike Poland from our After Dark in the Park presentation on August 23, 2011. Mike discusses the volcanic history of the area. It's one hour in length and can be viewed here
Did You Know?
Only two butterflies found in Hawai`i are native. The Kamehameha Butterfly (Vanessa tameamea) is Hawai`i's state insect, brightly colored, and larger than the Blackburn's blue (Udara blackburni).